For our daughters and sons
From time to time I volunteer to teach financial literacy with a non-profit located in Fairfax County, Virginia, dedicated to helping low-income individuals in a host of areas.
Among those areas, financial literacy might be one of the most impactful over the long term. As a volunteer, I see how people with little to nothing, struggle to overcome economic difficulties.
From time to time, I come across groups of recent immigrants. They come from all around the world attracted by what I consider the fundamental promise of America.
America is a country founded on the principles of justice, and opportunity for all. At least, that is the perception of those I talk to, and it is also my perception, and hope.
I go around the room and ask people to introduce themselves, tell us about where they come from, and why they came. Shy at first, more open as we go, it never fails to appear someone who voices the unique promise this country represents.
America is a country where anyone can make it, this is a country where opportunities abound, this is a country where if you want something, and you are willing to try hard, you can, shall, and will get it, over time.
It moves me, and I choke. The same dream I pursued is still alive and intact. America is in the eyes of millions the shiniest city on the hill. America is in the hearts of millions the answer to their dreams.
But it is not all roses and flowery smells in these stories. Fear of being kicked out of the country is real, and as it is always the case with fear, it immobilizes people, it finds a way to make you forget your dreams, your spirit gets crippled, and you lose hope.
The current political climate doesn’t help. One candidate promised to kick everyone out. Another will build a massive wall to the south and even the ones who want to be friendly, once in power, break records deporting mothers, fathers and children alike.
Fear makes people stop thinking, speaking of financial literacy is not a priority anymore. Of course. People even fear to deposit their salaries in a bank, because if one candidate wins he might use banking records to send non-Americans out.
And I stop, and I ask. How is the land of the brave, the land of the free, living up to its highest hopes? Not like this. How can we serve the dream with our best if we leave idiocy to take over and run rampant in our daily lives? Not anymore.
The American dream is not about fear; the American dream is not about rejection, division, anger, frustration, and so much more. The American dream is about hope, opportunity and justice for all.
Shame on those pushing the buttons of fear, shame on those who are opening the wounds of division, shame on those remaining silent for the sake of convenience, the most.
It is upon us who see and chose to see to raise their voice. It is us who need to convince the non-hateful, the non-fearful, the non-divisive to do more. I only teach financial literacy and write a few words. Please, be engaged in building the America to come, be involved in the construction of the future America for our daughters and sons.